IAN HUNTER, THE MINUS 5 (Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) Legends get bigger, but never better: Ian Hunter, former singer for Mott the Hoople and one of the greatest rock 'n' roll songwriters of all time, is headlining in Portland for the first time in over two decades. The Mott catalog alone is enough to put your butt in a seat, but Hunter's long solo career is full of equally worthy gems. NED LANNAMANN Also, read our article on Ian Hunter.
SUPERFEST: BÉISBOL, AROHAN, PALMAS, GRAPEFRUIT, AMERICAN GIRLS (Backspace, 115 NW 5th) Portland's premier annual all-ages dance festival, Superfest, is bigger than ever, spanning four days, three venues, and featuring acts like Glass Candy, Chromatics, White Rainbow, and Strategy. Best of all, it all goes to benefit Music in the Schools, because when government bureaucracy can't save us, music will. MARJORIE SKINNER
WHY?, SERENGETI, DJ SODAPOP (Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) Why?'s Yoni Wolf has delighted backpack rappers, indie-rock wordsmiths, and nerdcore purists alike. He's simultaneously baffled critics by blurring the lines between those disparate genres, essentially carving out a singular hiphop hybrid. Why?'s newest EP, Sod in the Seed, revisits the lyrical-madman sentimentality of 2008's Alopecia, with lots of sexy disco bass and glammy synths. Wolf's rapid-fire rhymes return, and are just as potent on the EP's title track, where he puts those who relegate him to hipster Whole Foods rapper status on blast, stuttering lines like, "Let's review some recent facts/I make decent cash, I'm a minor star/and we can't last if she don't drive a hybrid car/I scribble vapid raps on your flyer backs/the word is I purchased a refurbished Mac G4." Later, in a bit of a bookend: "So what if a man blinks in Morse code when he sings if he sings his heart out?" RYAN J. PRADO
FRUIT BATS, PEARLY GATE MUSIC (Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) It's rare to find a band as consistently satisfying as Fruit Bats, the outfit of now-Portland-based songwriter Eric D. Johnson. Fruit Bats have evolved into a powerhouse live band, dipping into breezy soul, strummy folk, and bong-resin rawk with equal skill, making everything they play almost inconceivably catchy. This may be the end of an era for the Bats, with tonight's show and an appearance at Bumbershoot being their last shows for a little while, closing the end of the cycle inaugurated by 2011's excellent Tripper LP. It's also a chance to see the vastly underrated Pearly Gate Music, the band of songwriter Zach Tillman, who's been moonlighting as Pure Bathing Culture's bassist but has an arsenal of his own terrific songs at his disposal. NL
FISHBONE, THE SENTIMENTS, THE LONGSHOTS, THE SINDICATE, NIGHTRAIN (Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE 39th) Fishbone never quite got their due until much later—an oft-misunderstood band that was way ahead of its time. The Los Angeles crew took funk, ska, and punk to new levels in the '80s, touching on political and social issues with a flair for satire. The band—perhaps due to the attention for the recent documentary, Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone—is touring again. And making new music: Fishbone released a new EP, Crazy Glue, in 2011. And while it's not likely to leave the same impression as 1988's Truth and Soul, there's something comforting about knowing Fishbone is still around. MARK LORE
ALAMEDA, EZZA ROSE, HIP HATCHET (Someday Lounge, 125 NW 5th) Procession, the second album from local chamber-folk outfit Alameda, has its sights aimed square at the lush, devastatingly beautiful terrain mapped out by other, equally lush, equally devastatingly beautiful local chamber-folk outfits (like Horse Feathers). So it's a good thing singer/guitarist Stirling Myles has a firm, capable songwriting hand, resulting in stirring tracks like "Limbs of Youth," which cultivates a tiny whirlwind within quick, circling melodic phrases. Or the fiery "Oaxaca," which augments Alameda's gossamer-winged frailty with glowing-ember electric guitar and knee-knock drums. Procession is a record of subtle pleasures, but its beauty is as natural and undeniable as that of a scenic landscape. NL